Tag: uber

I’ve written in the past about the Great Disruptive Project engaged in by firms like Uber, seeking change in the world in a way which expresses a moral vision, albeit often somewhat inchoately. This is something which emanates from the founders and plays a crucial role in establishing their charismatic authority and to varying degrees […]

I’ve blogged in the past about The Great Disruptive Project. We should understand a company like Uber, at least in its earlier stages, as in part a moral project. By this I mean there is a vision underlying the company, a critique of the existing order associated with this vision and a commitment to changing […]

There’s an interesting passage in Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, in which he discusses the contrasting experience of Amazon Mechanical Turk by users and workers. From loc 719: While AMT is profiting robustly, 11 it has –following the observations of several workers –not made significant updates to its user interfaces since its inception, and […]

This was back in 2012. There have been many more since and will be many more in future. From The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, loc 2871-2887: But Uber was going to need more than Tweets to sway the DC city council. First, colleagues remember, Kalanick sought the backing of the DC tech community and tried […]

One recurring theme in Brad Stone’s excellent The Upstarts is how technological assumptions encoded into legislation become focal points for conflicts with ‘disruptive’ companies. For instance, as loc 2348 illustrates, the novel dispatch system used by Uber complicated the distinction between taxis and livery cars: Stressing that Uber cars were not hailed or even electronically hailed […]

There’s an interesting extract in The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, concerning discretionary effort: what could your employees do if they were properly motivated? I’m fascinated by this concept because of its open-ended character. Once one begins to think like this, it’s always possible to imagine your employees doing more. The full actualisation of discretionary effort is a vanishing point and this […]

When the Uber co-founders recount the story of their project, they stress the importance of the consumer to it. This might seem like familiar rhetoric but I want to suggest it reflects a deep (and problematic) commitment. In The Upstarts, by Brad Stone, we see how the early idea for Uber came to Garrett Camp when he […]

From Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler, pg 136: Uber has defended surge pricing on the basis that a higher price will act as an incentive for more drivers to work during peak periods. It is hard to evaluate this argument without seeing internal data on the supply response by drivers, but on the face of it […]

Given how much time and energy has gone into constructing the notion of the ‘sharing economy’, these findings are fascinating. I would have assumed awareness of the term to be much higher and for established brands to dominate the explanations offered by respondents, something which was apparently not the case.

A great analysis of a hugely important case being heard in the near future: The immediate threat takes the form of an antitrust class action lawsuit against its co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, which will be litigated in the Manhattan courtroom of Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff starting on November 1. At issue is Uber’s […]

A really fascinating read on Harvard Business Review: We found that through Uber’s app design and deployment, the company produces what many reasonable observers would define as a managed labor force. Drivers have the freedom to log in or log out of work at will, but once they’re online, their activities on the platform are […]

Notes for a panel I’m doing in April with Claire Aitchison, Inger Mewburn & Pat Thomson. The idea for the panel was partly provoked by this Discover Society piece. I’m an enthusiast about social media for academics. But for all the examples I see around me of social media enriching and enhancing scholarly practice, it’s hard […]

This is a fascinating buzzfeed article about Uber’s successful encroachment into the Las Vegas market, in the face of massive opposition: But tonight, for the first time, there were Uber cars among the limos and cabs. One picked up a fare at Caesars Palace and embarked on what would have been one of the first […]